Slickhorn Canyon Trail

Mexican Hat, Utah

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1 Review
4 out of 5
Slickhorn Canyon offers an alternative for those who are interested in the Anasazi Ruins of Cedar Mesa but want more solitude than Grand Gulch can offer. The ruins are not as extensive as those in Grand Gulch, but Slickhorn does have one bonus: an almost perfectly preserved kiva, with the original roof still completely intact. The BLM has even provided a replica of an Anasazi ladder to give hikers access to the subterranean room through the opening in the roof. Also, the Slickhorn ruins do not appear to have been ravaged by Richard Wetherill and the other pot hunters of the late 1800s who excavated so many of the Grand Gulch ruins. Perhaps they didn’t know about Slickhorn Canyon. Like the Grand Gulch, Slickhorn Canyon runs in a southeasterly direction from the edge of Cedar Mesa to the San Juan River. There are a number of side canyons which join the main canyon from the east side, and it is through three of these side canyons, First Fork, Third Fork, and Trail Canyon, that most hikers find access to Slickhorn. The hike described here is a loop between First Fork and Trail Canyon.
Utah's Incredible Backcountry Trails

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Utah's Incredible Backcountry Trails

by David Day (Rincon Publishing)

Slickhorn Canyon offers an alternative for those who are interested in the Anasazi Ruins of Cedar Mesa but want more solitude than Grand Gulch can offer. The ruins are not as extensive as those in Grand Gulch, but Slickhorn does have one bonus: an almost perfectly preserved kiva, with the original roof still completely intact. The BLM has even provided a replica of an Anasazi ladder to give hikers access to the subterranean room through the opening in the roof.

Also, the Slickhorn ruins do not appear to have been ravaged by Richard Wetherill and the other pot hunters of the late 1800s who excavated so many of the Grand Gulch ruins. Perhaps they didn’t know about Slickhorn Canyon. Like the Grand Gulch, Slickhorn Canyon runs in a southeasterly direction from the edge of Cedar Mesa to the San Juan River. There are a number of side canyons which join the main canyon from the east side, and it is through three of these side canyons, First Fork, Third Fork, and Trail Canyon, that most hikers find access to Slickhorn. The hike described here is a loop between First Fork and Trail Canyon.

©  David Day/Rincon Publishing. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Mexican Hat
Distance: 10.1
Elevation Gain: 860 feet
Trail Type: Shuttle
Duration: 7 hours
Season: Spring, summer, fall
Trailhead Elevation: 6,080 feet
Top Elevation: 6,080 feet
Local Contacts: San Juan Resource Area, Bureau of Land Management, in Monticello
Local Maps: Pollys Pasture (USGS), Slickhorn Canyon East (USGS)
Driving Directions: Directions to Slickhorn Canyon Trail

Recent Trail Reviews

10/2/2005
0

This eTrail covers the loop down Slickhorn #1 and up Slickhorn #6 called Trail Canyon. The author details the route very clearly and provides the location of the "Perfect Kiva" of Slickhorn. The setting is stunning. This kiva is the best I have ever seen in all of Cedar Mesa including the kiva in Bullet Canyon. Please don’t go in it and stay off the roof. You will need to be a good hiker and have scrambling skills to bypass the big pouroff in upper Slickhorn, but the descent isn’t terribly difficult. There are incredible accessible ruins in Slickhorn 6 about one mile from the confluence (I counted over 20 different rooms in this series of ledge ruins). We didn’t exit 6 so I can’t describe that section. Be sure to possess a detailed 7.5 minute USGS topo map of the route (I printed the entire route from Trails.com, taped it together, and transferred notes from several guidebooks to the map).



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